How the music of Bob Marley and others can help nervous dogs

Lots of dogs are scared of the noise and light of fireworks and festivals.
Some music such as Reggae is better at keeping a dog relaxed. © Anders Ipsen. Unsplash

At this time of the year there are plenty of reasons for dogs to feel anxious. Fireworks and funfairs, busy markets and festivals prompt some dogs to seek refuge beneath the kitchen table and not move until after New Year’s Eve. But a new study says reggae music may be just the antidote to frayed nerves and tightly tucked tails.

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Classical music has for years been used to soothe our own furrowed brows, but more recently we have used it as a way to treat the anxieties of our pets. On the 3rd of November 2018 Classic FM (a UK radio station dedicated to easy-listening classical music) broadcast the first ever programme dedicated to pets, with an aim to, ‘help keep pets calm and relaxed during the noise and bright lights’.

Soft Rock and Reggae

A 2017 study carried out by Glasgow University and with the involvement of the Scottish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) concluded that dogs were not only calmed by the playing of Motown, Pop and Classical music but were even more relaxed when subjected to Soft Rock and Reggae.

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The Guardian newspaper quoted the SPCA’s head of research, Gilly Mendes Ferreira who said of the findings: ‘those genres have a rhythm that is similar to the dogs’ own heart rate. When a puppy is feeling stressed it will snuggle into its mother and use her heartbeat as relaxation, so this music mimics that.’

Off the back of the research the SPCA has since collaborated with record producer John McLaughlin to record ‘Paws, Play, Relax, a charitable record designed for dogs’.

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Image: © relaxmydog.

But McLaughlin is not the only producer who knows the worth of playing music to dogs. In 2011 Amman Ahmed and producer Ricardo Henriquez stumbled on the perfect treatment of a dog’s blues and anxieties and started a company called RelaxMyDog. The music streaming service now reaches 10 million users a month.

Read also: 5 dog breeds that get along with cats

Nick John Whittle lives and works in Birmingham, UK. He is a specialist copywriter, journalist and theatre critic. Over the years Nick’s family has owned dogs, cats, rodents and birds. The history of animal domestication and of people’s relationship with their pets over the centuries interests him a lot. He cares greatly about the welfare of both feral and domesticated animals and supports ongoing protection of endangered species.